Vicious is the first adult novel written by Victoria Schwab under the pen name V.E. Schwab. It follows two friends turned enemies over a 10 year period.

Victor Vale has recently broken out of prison. Placed there by his college roommate and best friend for a murder he didn’t commit – well, he did but it wasn’t intentional – Victor has now escaped and is looking for revenge. Armed with a supernatural power to control pain (his own and others), he seeks out Eli for crimes Eli did commit intentionally.

Eli Ever – once Eli Cardale – is hunting ExtraOrdinaries, people with unique abilities that came after a near death experience. Eli is one such EO after an experiment in college, but unlike his victims Eli believes his supernatural healing abilities was gifted to him by God. All other EO abilities are abnormally and should be eliminated. The only two EOs Eli has been unsuccessful with is Victor and Serena, a woman who has the ability to make people do whatever she wants.

Well, Serena’s sister Sydney should also be Eli’s victim, but luck has been on her side. Sydney has escaped Eli and is now protected by Victor, if only for her EO gift. Along with Victor’s escaped cellmate Mitch, the trio must find out where Eli is, who his next victim will be, and stop him before he kills any other EOs.

Easier said than done.

Vicious is the first of a series (with no set number of volumes) and introduces the idea of ExtraOrdinaries and their abilities. But it’s more than that as it involves the dynamics of two friends turned enemies over a battle of intelligence and wits. It also twists the typical superhero trope on it’s head; neither Victor nor Eli is the traditional hero nor are they the traditional villain. This makes their story an interesting read.

What also makes the story unique is its perspective. While a traditional 3rd person perspective story, the chapters not only alternate between character perspectives it also alternates between times. Some chapters are told from Victor’s POV 10 years in the past while others are told from Eli’s POV in the present. While it sounds as if alternating time lines would make for a confusing story, it actually make logistical sense in the way Schwab presents the story. I found myself more enlightened as past chapters clarified what is being said in the present.

Currently, we are told, Schwab is writing the second volume, entitled Vengeful, to be released in the near future. I surely hope so since I would like to know what Victor and Eli are now up to.

My rating: 4/5


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